Saturday, 22 December 2007

A singular experience...

Bioshock is a (quite old, in terms of computer games now) videogame. Now, people scoff at games as fun, entertainment or - shock, horror - perhaps something more. But I've just finished playing the demo and my heart is yet to stop pumping.

Bioshock is what's known as a first person shooter, which is nothing special. What is special is the way it works. Firstly, it's more than just guns, guns and more guns. There are sort of super powers known as plasmids which you can use - genetically altering your body in the process. These things mean you can fire electricity from your fist, for example, which is useful in temporarily disabling security cameras, people and - of course, the classic - firing 10,000 volts into a pool of water frying various bad people.

Enough about immature violence. You can get that anywhere these days.

What really makes the game special is the environment. The game starts with a plane crash of which Jack, your character, is the only survivor. Much like Half Life (arguably the best computer game of modern times) you see everything from the eyes of Jack - no movie-style cut scenes. So with a good enough system to run the game on, you see, hear and feel the plane crash. You feel Jack underwater, near drowning, before you take him up to get air. You navigate the burning water to a mysterious looking lighthouse.

This is were the 50s-60s style creepiness really kicks in. The lighthouse contains a bathysphere. Cat like curiousity leads you to step in and be sealed by a fat, pressure-proof door. And you begin your descent down to Rapture. An all too cheerful radio and slideshow begins to tell you about Rapture - the creator and the reason. And suddenly you look outside to see this underwater, art deco City of neon lights. As you get closer, dodging between shoals of fish and blue whales, you can see advertisements on the buildings, gay and kitsch to go along with the broadcast you're watching. The creator of Rapture is speaking (a recording, of course) of why he created Rapture. Freedom, independence, excellence. These are terms that are bandied around liberally through the environments, just adding to the creepiness. Rapture is the epitomy of laissez faire thinking. No petty government interference, which is something you learn the creator - Ryan - has a rather hefty hatred for.

It all sounds a bit strange, but not too bad. As you get closer you hear people talking about your imminent arrival, and - I'll level with you - they're not too positive about your survival. The first thing you see is a bloodied madman with sickles killing someone sent to save you. This guy taunts you for a while, unable to get through the thick glass, and leaves. One of the men from earlier contacts you through a radio you pick up from the sphere, and insists he wants to help you (although by now, you're pretty spooked of everything) and tells you to get to higher ground.

It's only now that you realise Rapture isn't all it was cracked up to be. There are official notices everywhere in the departure lounge informing people that travel has been suspended indefinitely. There are also placards with slogans like 'You don't own us, Rapture!'. The protesters are nowhere to be seen, but - looking around at the debris, cracked glass and corpses - the place has seen better days.

By now, your heart is really having a bit of a time of it's own. The cheerful art deco surroundings are made creepier by the darkness, the screams and mutterings of nearby 'splicers' - like the lovely gent who wanted to kill you earlier in the bathysphere - and your total lack of knowledge.

And from there, it's such a ride (and I've only played the demo! Ha). You inject yourself with something called EVE, which gives you the power to throw aforementioned lightning around - a real help. But when you inject yourself, your head begins to spin and you collapse over a balcony. Vaguely aware, a couple of groups pass your fainted form, debating over grizzly things they can do to you, before deciding you're not worth the trouble.

Your helpful 'friend' contacts you over the radio and directs you to keep moving, and from there is all gets gloriously chaotic. You find a wrench, which is a relatively brutal instrument of defence, and begin the 'Colombo One-Two' - which involves sending a couple of thousand volts through a would-be assailant before beating them senseless. Survival, eh?

I won't bore anyone with the rest of the demo, but suffice to say the environment doesn't stop giving. You sneak through an old dance hall, decorated with 'New Year 1959' posters and complete with creepy, lounge lizard music, trying to avoid getting bludgeoned to death by psychopaths wearing masquerade masks.

It's brutal, it's chaotic and it's terrifying. It elicits all those emotions and more.

Spiderman 3 was beaten at the box office, sort of, by Halo 3. Games are now as much entertainment experiences as movies are. And Bioshock is a perfect example of why.

Download the demo, if your computer will run it. My performance is a bit buggy because I insisted on running it on top spec. Without the eye candy - the posters and neon signs and broken cigarillo machines - it wouldn't be half as fun.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Good News and the NHS Compared to Scrubs

Firstly, the good news.

I may not have mentioned, but I consider myself something of an artist (indeed my first degree was in the arts). Obviously, I'm not talented or perhaps driven enough to make money from it, but I do enjoy it.

I've been commissioned to do some medical drawings for one of my lecturers. The work itself is unpaid, but my name gets to go on the documents they'll be attached to, which is, at least, exposure. So I'm happy.

Now, for the second part of the topic. Last placement, a patient asked me if working in the hospital was anything like the hit Am-Com Scrubs. I thought about it a bit, and - perhaps surprisingly, it is. Just a little bit.

For example - nurses care a lot more about their patients than doctors do. Doctors often talk about patients as objects, and talk about them rather than to them. So in that respect, a large slice of doctors act like the typical Surgeon in Sacred Heart. Nurses also bitch a lot, which is a bit of a mirror image.

In the programme and in the NHS money is a constant ball-ache. The big wigs in management who, unlike Kelso, aren't even Doctors, like to naysay far too much, stopping patients from getting the best treatment.

On that note, there is the idea of risk. If something's too risky, medical staff don't want to do it in case it has an impact on their stats, and so - again - patients suffer.

They're all I can think of for now, but I'll make sure to add more as they come up. Considering the gulf between systems (and the fact that one is a comedy and one situation is real life) there are surprising parallels.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

"Our country"

"Our country" is a much bandied around term. Usually anecdotally by white people in the street when anything vaguely multicultural is mentioned.

"Oh, I don't think that'd work in our country..."

You get the point.

But it's bollocks, really, isn't it? Where do you draw the line of belonging?

I mean, ownership is a religious or capitalist idea, depending which way you're looking at things. Either some God (whichever) owns the Earth and sort of lets us borrow it indefinitely or a government owns a country or piece of land and looks after us and it.

The concept is horrific, either way. I mean, do fifth generation Brits have more 'right' to the country than forth generation? Because they've lived here a bit longer and 'own' the country a bit more?

The thought makes me shudder. Although it is quite fun when you find a racist and point out a lot of 'immigrants' family lines in Britain go further back than theirs do.

"Our country" is a pointless term. This country has never belonged to any one 'people' when it comes to ethnicity or anything like that. We're a lovely mongrel nation. The NHS, for example, has always relied on expertise from overseas to augment homegrown talent. The World Wars were labelled as such because of how many 'foreigners' from the Commonwealth fought for the freedom of good old Blightly.

So, please - don't use the term in the sense I'm implying. Unless you're planning on looking silly.

Monday, 17 December 2007


Yes. The dreaded p-word.

I'm back at University, which means paperwork (lots) and women who don't know how to use computers (equally lots). It's tiring.

I've given up for the day. On the plus side, boring University gives me days off in which to do this paperwork. So I may head down to the Union tomorrow and eat cheap food, drink cheaper coffee and do said paperwork. It might keep my mood slightly higher.

Most of Uni, however, has actually shut down for Christmas (already) so it might not even be open. I do, of course, have to do Christmas shopping at some point. That I'm dreaded. Give me a load of surgical clips to remove at 6 o'clock in the morning, instead, please.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

"Make Me a Muslim"

What an awful exercise of a show.

I think BBC2 did a version of this, like 'The Abbey', where interested (and I stress interested) people looked into switching, so to speak, to Islam.

This show is a bit like the latter day Wife Swap, where they now get the most incompatible people involved for, presumably, more explosive results. And by that, I mean: A lazy arse, beer swilling middle aged moron, a 'glamour model' and a lisping homosexual, for three examples.

Of course, there's going to be conflicts. While the BBC2 show was about, perhaps, people growing and finding something new in their lives, this C4 trash is simply about conflict. Oh, maybe by the end they'll have made a 'journey' or whatever, but I doubt it.

When you get a gay annoyed that Muslims won't accept homosexuality, well... surely he should've looked into this before going on the show? The Muslim faith, unlike some of the branches of Christianity, hasn't bent (pardon the pun) it's stance in modern times. So why are they going to change for this one, quite annoying little man? And why should he expect a faith to change for him? If he didn't want to change himself for the show (and I don't think people should change if they don't want to) then why go on it in the first place?

What do I think about Islam, then?

I'm a count myself as Wicca, which is an Earth-based religion (as they say, these days). It's pretty loose fitting, compared to some of the more strict religions. Wheras some faiths have very strict rules and tenents, Wicca (as well as most of the Pagan faiths) advocates living well, generally. And it allows you to express yourself without offending some higher power. Unless expressing yourself involves being an absolute cunt - which no religion advocates unless someone twists it for their own ends.

So, I don't enjoy the rules of religions like Islam. 21st Century Britain is a greedy, capitalist, sort-of Democracy. We have freedom to buy (most of) what we want, thanks to the free market, and you can sort of do what you want. I can live with that.

Most religious societies suppress the ideas of buying and doing what you want because those acts run opposite to some badly translated rules from a dusty old book, and this worked, back in the olden days before money and science. But now I think it's a bit old fashioned, the concept of a set of moralistic 'rules' applied to all people whether they like it or not. People should free to do what they want, as long as it doesn't inflict grevious harm on another person. And even then the rules can get quite hazy.

The big religions don't really agree with that concept of freedom. And good for them. If you want to follow those paths and believe in those morals - do it! But don't force other people to do it. Especially if they don't agree.

What aren't I going to miss?

Quick one.

I loved placement. I didn't love every second, that'd be a hopelessly optimistic statement, but the huge majority, I liked.

So, what didn't I like?

Well. Mornings. I work better in the mornings, but that doesn't cut it when luke warm water can't cut through the ice on the street. I'll be better in mornings when it's light and not below freezing, I reckon.

Friday, 14 December 2007

My Last Day

I'm a bit emotional now, to be honest.

The thing I'd like to reflect on is how I feel other people felt about me. I was showered with a bit more praise today. One Doctor couldn't believe I was a first year, first placement. One of the psychologists said he'd appreciated by confidence and knowledge of patients.

And the patients were all lovely. They wished me well and mentioned they thought I'd go far. And I believe them.

Generally, I think I've learnt a lot. My natural disposition, my mentor tells me, means I'm well suited to the vocation of nursing. I'm confident, able to communicate with ease to medics, nurses and patients and I'm not afraid to ask questions.

I also believe I'm good at what I do. And I fucking enjoy it.

The only way is up from here, I reckon. And I can't wait.

My first late shift in an Iron Age

Yes. It means I can wake up at the lesiurely (ha) time of 8:10am. I like to wake up laughing quite annoyingly at Fraiser before slumming around all day before going to placement.

It's also my last day today, which is quite sad. Sure, I won't miss riding through this lovely city in the actual below zero freezing cold, trying not to fall off my bike at half six in the morning. And I will find University quite the breeze in comparison.

But I will miss an actual sense of well being I come away with for the first time in any kind of job. And I will miss, a little bit, the pride I can stand up with in some kind of social situation and say: "I'm a nurse."

(Only when asked what I do, like. I don't do it just for kicks. And I know I'm still a trainee nurse, but it doesn't feel like it until you're actually working)

I've been peppered with praise from staff and patients, including a few who don't really know me, yesterday, which is lovely, even if some of it may be bullshit. From a totally vain point of view, I'm hoping for a little more today. And I'm hoping people miss me, when I'm gone. "Remember that Pete guy?" they might say. "He was a top class student nurse."

Or something similar.

Idle daydreaming aside, I just want to get my paperwork finished and handed in and marked and passed by the bigwigs. Staying on the course is more important than my unsinkable ego.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Girl With A One Track Mind

Before I begin this named subject, let me say, from what I've read, I've nothing against GwaOTM. Sexual honesty and expression in women is long overdue, and good for her that she made it a little bit more acceptable and made a shitload of cash to boot.

However, there are underlying problems.

The media likes to create and perpetuate the idea that men are mindless, sex-obsessed perverts and women are either frigid or actually quite cool and good at sex. And, of course, that men can't please women.

I can't work out why the mainstream media would be so set on perpetuating this idea, but they do.

So, this is why GwaOTM is so successful, really. Working against the grain is often quite invigorating.

I don't think people in general are going to change. This quote probably states the problem clearer than I could:

The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.
- John Kenneth Galbraith

Oh yes. They like things the easy way, and like to be shown the way. People are lazy, in short. In the same way that 'blue for boys, pink for girls' keeps that trend going, the above idea perpetuated by magazines, TV and newspapers doesn't seem to be changing with the times.

('How To Look Good Naked' always amuses me, as previously mentioned. A hugely sexist programme that labours the points: Women need to worry about looking 'good' and men don't worry about their appearance naked).

Being a pole dancing, male nurse means I'm sort of against the grain myself. And love it. But my experiences as a human being both confirm the laziness in people when it comes to accepting these broad sweeps of stereotypes as well as people who go against them and actually act as individuals.

The latter are sadly lacking.

I love my job

Today I got to take staples out of a patient's head. How awesome and rock & roll is that? I only got to take out five, but still. It was an experience.

It led me to reflect on how good the ward has been to me and how they've challenged me but not pushed me too far. There are other students who don't even write up about their patients at the end of the shift, but for this week I've been taking one bay of the ward and doing the writing and stuff. These students have been there longer than me, which makes me wonder just why not?

Ambition is key when you're out to impress, which you are when you're a student nurse, if you ask me. And plus, I live by the motto of: You don't ask, you don't get. So if you're not asking things, putting yourself in positive positions and being proactive you're not getting the best out of your vocation.

Anyway, I'm enjoying it. I spoke to another student in a rhuemotology ward who said they're doing a lot of bottom wiping. I know basic care is important, but I've got plenty of experience of it on this ward. Along with other rock and roll things, like staple pulling. Woo.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

A footnote to free speech

Re: my ramblings here

I read something on the dreaded Facebook again from some 'Anti-Fascists'. They propose freedom with limits, i.e. Freedom with order, which is a bit of a contradiction in terms.

That is to say they want freedom of speech, but if you say something they don't like then you don't get the freedom. A bit like them ladelling it out at their discretion, I think. Lovely.

And who is this 'order' controlled by, these restrictions ladelled out by? "Anti-fascist", Oxbridge educated, middle class twats?

No, thank you.

It's freedom or order, not both. I'd vote for the former.

Government Making Sense

This quick post is about the guy who got out of prison early, thanks to the Ministry of Justice Early Release Scheme, and killed the woman he'd been put into the slammer for beating up.

As if to throw more fuel to the feminist movement the Ministry came out with this little gem.

"Oh, he would've done it whenever he was released, anyway."

Oh. That's alright then.


Worst defence ever.

Support Workers

It had to come, this post. I'm too opinionated not to have something to say about them.

So, what do I think about Support Workers?

I certainly think they're needed and provide a solid, cash efficient service. Cash efficient in the sense that they do the jobs that modern nurses don't, particularly, need to do.

However, in my experience a number of support workers have chips on their shoulder. By that, I mean they either subscribe to the 'saint complex' of people working in healthcare and moan about being so put upon or, possibly worse, consider themselves to be nurses even though they're untrained.

Support Workers, by the way, are nothing like State-Enrolled nurses of yesteryear. They are represented by Assistant Practitioners nowadays, who, I must add, are very good at what they do.

So, in short, I think SWs are required, but sometimes the actual members of staff fail to amuse me due to several personal characteristics of people who seem to be attracted to the job.

Sunday, 9 December 2007


Good weekend, I have to report. It started off with a less than good beginning, with me losing a tunic and my fob watch, which I'm not amused about. If I'm lucky I would've left it in the Staff Room and it'll be there for me tomorrow. We'll see.

I went home for the weekend, anyway (I'm studying away from home, you see). Originally I was half doing it just to get my washing done, but it was actually good to see everyone and everything. I got to get a bit drunk and see my new nephew (not in that order), which was fun. I got to see Liverpool lose and chat up yet another bird who had a boyfriend (and mentioned him within the first five minutes of chatting, which was, I suppose, quite polite). I don't know how I do it.

She wasn't fit, really, but I met a Staff Nurse this week who really was. Plus she wore the actual nurse dress rather than the pants and tunic set up, which is both fit and uber cool.

One day, I might actually chat up an attractive, single woman out on the town. I wouldn't bet on it, though.

So, I don't know why I have this knack of locating women who are attatched. I do, however, know why Liverpool got creamed yesterday.

1) Reading were outstanding. Plain and simple. I've always liked them, and they proved their worth yesterday, despite a stuttering start to the season.

2) The Liverpool players, apart from Carra, Stevie and Torres were pathetic. Crouch? Absent. Vronin? Pathetic. Mascearno? A buffoon. Sissoko? A joke. I could go on, but they were the worst offenders.

3) The Liverpool system was all wrong. It allowed Stevie to play how he wanted, but the two bollocks midfielders infront of the back four weren't good enough. That system works with Alonso, who can actually pass the ball. Those two can't. Rafa had the full backs charging up the flanks, which left huge holes in our defense for Reading to counter attack, which they did very well. Additionally, third Captain (?!) Riise couldn't hit water if he was standing on a boat. I used to be a fan, but he's lost it. And there are much better players in the squad. Squad selection and substitutions were tricky, with Tuesday in mind, but Rafa could've done better.

And the players could've actually shown up.

Pundits go on about Liverpool scoring for fun, but it's actually Stevie and Fernando scoring and making the goals. You take them out of the system and you're left with a bunch of no marks. Which we saw for most of yesterdays game. Bah, humbug.

Christmas will be a football mountain to climb. Tuesday and Sunday are must-wins. The rest of the games even more so. Thankfully this weekend some close teams dropped points, but that's no excuse.

I despair, sometimes. Maybe I'll watch Spooks on Tuesday.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Random Thoughts

Firstly, am I the best student nurse ever?

Maybe not. But I'm pretty darn close.

Wrote my first nursing evaluation today, which was a bit wordy (a quality that is likely to be inscribed on my tombstone) but generally top notch.

Secondly, the story of 'The Lyrical Terrorist' amused me today. To make a rather funny comparison:

Lyrical Terrorist: Wrote about being a martyr (in the blowing oneself to pieces along with as many infidels as possible to reach some kind of heaven sense). Collected 'a library' of terrorist material. Praised Osama Bin Laden.

Punishment? Jail was on the cards, but she gets off with community service.

Mrs Gibbons: Accidently named a teddy bear the name of a Prophet of Islam (or 7 year old boy, depending which way you look at it). Co-operated with kiddies.

Punishment? Immense jail time or an ungoldy amount of lashes were spoke of. Only political pressure pulled her out of a Sudanese jail which would make UK Women's Prison look like a holiday camp.

Ha. Whenever you feel a bit demoralised living in this country, do remember - it could be a lot worse.

Random Thoughts

Firstly, am I the best student nurse ever?

Maybe not. But I'm pretty darn close.

Wrote my first nursing evaluation today, which was a bit wordy (a quality that is likely to be inscribed on my tombstone) but generally top notch.

Secondly, the story of 'The Lyrical Terrorist' amused me today. To make a rather funny comparison:

Lyrical Terrorist: Wrote about being a martyr (in the blowing oneself to pieces along with as many infidels as possible to reach some kind of heaven sense). Collected 'a library' of terrorist material. Praised Osama Bin Laden.

Punishment? Jail was on the cards, but she gets off with community service.

Mrs Gibbons: Accidently named a teddy bear the name of a Prophet of Islam (or 7 year old boy, depending which way you look at it). Co-operated with kiddies.

Punishment? Immense jail time or an ungoldy amount of lashes were spoke of. Only political pressure pulled her out of a Sudanese jail which would make UK Women's Prison look like a holiday camp.

Ha. Whenever you feel a bit demoralised, do remember - it could be a lot worse.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007


Consultants are funny old things. I've met some lovely ones, but the personell I met today were glum inspiring.

The first problem? They come during protected mealtimes. These are protected for a reason, but consultants from out of the ward decide to come down anyway. I impressed my mentor by actually calling them on it, and giving my patient time to actually eat before being poked and prodded.

So they got in with them, post-lunch, and were generally alright, until they started talking about the patient like an object when the patient was sitting there. Then they decided to be quite fucking tactless about asking about HIV/AIDS, sexual preference and possible drug use. I almost actually gasped it was so utterly outlandish, but decided to keep my mouth shut and apologise to my patient afterwards.

How rude.

Hull University and 'Inequality'

Right. So there are people at Hull Uni who want to get rid of the Men's Officer post. They say it's pointless, inequal (?) and old fashioned. They seem to be using faulty logic, from my point of view. And guess what? I'm going to let you know about it.

Some guy on the Facebook Group message board reckons if you have a Men's Officer then you would need a White Person Officer, Able Bodied Officer etc.

Firstly, that's just underlining a friend of mine's 'middle-class-twentysomething-middle-of-the-road-average-white trash' t-shirt idea. The idea of getting rid of this Union post is also reasonably offensive to white, able bodied men as it:

a) Insinuates they're somehow 'normal' and all have life 'easy' compared to the groups who are represented by an officer, and;

b) Could send the message they should have any problems or any perceived problems stemming from their gender aren't very important as they don't have an officer like other groups do.

Now, it may be quite truthful that other groups are more discriminated against, but the concept they need 'more help' is a bit condescending to them and, as mentioned, offensive to the officer-less men, generally sending out a not very sound message, in my opinion.

If it's a point of cost-effectiveness, almost (and by that I mean if there was some way to find out how active the officers had been over a year, how many people had seen them, what campaigns they'd been part of etc.) then I'm sure that'd reveal some telling information. But such an audit wouldn't reveal a post was benign. It could just mean the actual elected officer was rubbish at their jobs.

Everyone has problems, and I half accept the point that a University would need a large amount of officers to cover everyone 'fully'. The ridiculous extreme being an officer for each student, of course.

I've previously pondered the use of an 'Equality Officer' (or perhaps two), who could cover all of these issues without any gender, race of orientation bias. Seems sound to me.

Or would that just be stealing too many people's thunder, I wonder?

Tuesday, 4 December 2007


Unity is back online with a fantastic fisk of a quite fantastical woman..

Check it out, for the love of God. Or not, as it turns out.

I'm a topsy-turvy thinker...

Recently I've been getting up early for my late shifts. I suppose I should be getting as much sleep as possible, but a) I always feel crappy when I've overslept and b) I like waking up to old episodes of Frasier. Guilty pleasures forever!

It was doing this this very morning that I realised how I appreciate traditionally masculine behavioural characteristics in women. Roz is clearly a big example of this phenomenon. Pity she's only a fictional character, really, but she is awesome, let's be honest. As for why, well it comes back to the characteristics. General horniness counts for a lot, obviously. Apathy mixed with confidence, too. But at the same time she's not too masculine - which would be a bit weird. She flirts between the traditional characteristics of both genders quite skilfully.

I suppose I like her, and the concept, so much because it's what I do in every day life. And the 'birds of a feather/opposites attract' debate aside, I find that idea in women attractive. As mentioned, it's just a shame she's a fictional character. I don't think such women exist in the real world.

Reflection 94

Should note this down before I forget,

Yesterday we were short one RN (Registered Nurse) so it was a bit of a stress, to put it lightly. I was, once, left alone in charge of the door and nurse's station. Visitor times start at half six, and it was around 6:10pm. Six until half past is what's called a 'Protected Mealtime' which was put in place by the NHS to make sure patients have the opportunity to eat in peace without interruption. I was, therefore, obliged to let nobody in, but there were visitors. I contacted one of the staff nurses who was very busy and said the visitor at the door had special permission to come in. So let them in I do. But there's another visitor there by the time I get back. I inform them both that I only have permission to let one in.

The visitor denied access proceeded to get quite irate with me before storming off. Later I found out he had special permission, too, but I wasn't told this. Furthermore he didn't try to explain the situation, just decided to give me a large swathe of attitude. This made me feel somewhat threatened (although, in all honesty, it takes a lot more than that to shake me, especially since I was only - oh, let me think - doing my job). These are the risks nurses take, even from visitors to patients, but I wouldn't, in hindsight, change what I did. I was ready to be reasonable, but it seemed this visitor was happy to become angry and storm off this little to and fro.

Monday, 3 December 2007

One Thing...

... that's always going to get my back up?

Dragon's Den, tonight and tomorrow. A business called 'Handy Girl'. An odd jobs company that employs only women. That's sexism. At best it's positive discrimination. It's misogynistic and it's illegal. And the fact that people (not all of the Dragons, thankfully) think it's okay is laughably offensive.

Short but sweet...

Democracy - 1
Hugo Chavez - 0


That is all.